LU celebrates International Education Week
In an effort to promote international understanding, education and exchange, Lamar University is celebrating International Education Week, a national initiative set by the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs and the Department of State from Nov. 16-20.
Lamar University’s celebration this year will focus on the theme “Access for All” by highlighting the accomplishments and cultural revenue created by international students, as well as emphasizing international opportunities and appreciation for domestic students in a week of events.
“International Education Week helps Lamar promote international understanding, specifically by recognizing the contributions of students from other countries who are studying on our campus and by building support for programs that prepare U.S. Americans to live and work in a global environment,” Jeff Palis, director of Global Studies and Study Abroad said.
“Lamar is an amazingly diverse campus,” Palis said. “This week gives us the opportunity to celebrate our unity through our diversity.”
Events begin 1 p.m. Monday on the sixth floor of the Mary and John Gray Library with a lecture by Jose Enrique Diaz Camacho from the Institute of Psychological Research at the Universidad Veracruzana, Lamar’s partner university in Xalapa, Mexico. The lecture, on “Food Culture, Lifestyle, and Obesity: A Prospective from Mexico,” is sponsored by global studies and study abroad in conjunction with the 100,000 Strong in the Americas health sciences grant project, housed in the Department of Health and Kinesiology.
“We sent a group of students to Universidad Veracruzana this past summer to do research while researchers from Xalapa came up to Lamar,” Palis said. “This lecture will continue their joint conversation regarding research about health and obesity in America.”
The International Cultural Festival, the week’s largest event according to Palis, will take place 6-9 p.m. Monday in the Montagne Center. Hosted by the Office of International Student Services and International Student Council in collaboration with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and Lamar’s Small Business and Development Center, the event focuses on celebrating the diversity and cultures of International Students at Lamar University.
“Our students from around the world will have tables representing each of their countries and give presentations or performances unique to their culture, along with food from their place of origin,” Palis said. “It’s important that this event is part of the inclusivity of Lamar. I want the whole campus to know that they’re free to come to it; it’s open to everybody on campus and beyond.”
The festival, previously held in the Setzer Center ballroom, is moving to the Montagne Center due to increasing attendance and attention, according to Palis.
“We are expecting a big crowd from the students and community,” he said. “We are all invited to this festival and we’re all from our different countries, which we’ll be celebrating, but we are also all Lamar Cardinals together.”
International Student Council president Adharsh John Chundammanal hopes that the event will help international students build confidence.
“I want to bring the international community to the limelight, most of them are in their shells and anxious to interact with the local community,” he said. “I want to remove that anxiety and fear and let them see that the local students are just like their own friends. I also want to enhance the relationships between different international students. I believe that in events like this they need to come together and perform as a team in order to be successful.”
Tuesday will kick off with an event for potential study abroad students, undergraduate and graduate alike. The International Scholarship Workshop at 4 p.m. in the Setzer Center, room 206, will highlight three of the most “prestigious and lucrative” study abroad scholarships available according to Palis: the Gilman, Fulbright and Boren scholarships.
“We’re going to give an overview of each scholarship, what each scholarship looks for in an applicant, how one goes about applying, what an ideal application would look like in theory, and so on,” he said. “We’re also going to have students and staff who’ve received the Gilman scholarship, including a faculty member, speak. I myself had a Fulbright and have been on several Gilman reading committees, so we can all give students a good idea as to what goes into these scholarships.”
On Wednesday at 2 p.m. in the Setzer Center room 206, students returning from study abroad experiences will learn to package their experience to look as appealing as possible to employers in the Building an International Resume workshop, a joint effort between the Writing Center and Global Studies and Study Abroad.
“After returning home, the question for students is always, ‘Ok, I’ve studied abroad, so now what?’ One wonders what they can do career-wise with the great experiences they dove into,” Palis said. “We’re going to talk about how to showcase your international experience on your resume without under-selling yourself, and how through our resumes we can draw employers’ eyes quickly to what we want them to see.”
Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in the Communications Building, room 103, Global Studies and Study Abroad will present a showing of “L’Auberge Espangole” (The Spanish Apartment) for International Film Night. The film, chosen by Palis and French professor Caitlin Duerler, tells the story of a group of international students who end up together in an apartment in Barcelona as they all navigate the experience of studying in a foreign country. This film will also close out the month-long French Film Festival.
“’L’Auberge Espagnole’ really encapsulates the study abroad experience through an entertaining, fictional film,” Palis said.
Thursday the International Conversation Club will meet in the Writing Center at 12:45 p.m. The club aims at opening a dialogue of sharing between students of these various countries, including U.S. students. Attendees share their own cultures while learning about new cultures, traditions and places.
“Lamar’s 1,300 or so international students represent 60 different countries rich with culture,” Palis said. “The International Conversation Club is a great opportunity for students to see through someone else’s eyes.”
Later the same day, the Reaud Honors College, in partnership with global studies and study abroad, will host Cardinals Return Home: A Student Panel on the Study Abroad Experience at 4 p.m. in the Dishman Art Museum auditorium. Here students also have the chance to learn more about this year’s study abroad opportunities.
“The panel will focus on the student experience as told by returning study abroad students; it won’t just be faculty speaking,” Palis said. “This panel was created with the aim of giving prospective students a realistic look at the facets of study abroad through the eyes of their peers.”
Closing out the week’s activities on Friday, Global Studies and Study Abroad, Housing and Residence life, New Student and & Leadership Programs, and International Student Services are teaming to put together Football 101, which will be at the Golf Range at 2 p.m.
“When first coming to the US, many students are confused by American football. The event is a fun way for international students to learn more about American football through an interactive tutorial in preparation for the rivalry game between the Lamar Cardinals and the McNeese Cowboys,” Palis said. “We’re going to be showing the international students how to play and toss around the ball a bit as a group, it should really be a lot of fun. American students who want to come play football and hang out on a Friday afternoon are more than welcome as well.”
Palis is optimistic about what the week will hold and has plans to continue the celebration of International Education Week at Lamar each November.
“We might come from more than 60 different countries, but while we are here at LU we’re all Cardinals,” Palis said. “We’re lucky to live, work and study at such an international place. In truth, we need more than a week to showcase it, but this is a good start!”
For more information about International Education Week or Global Studies and Study Abroad, contact Jeff Palis at (409) 880-7516 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about International Student Services, contact Michael Jiang at email@example.com or (409) 880-8988.